For the Monday-Friday crew, Friday is the big day. You wake up to chants of ‘one more day’ in your head as you skip off to work to round the week off and finally have your well earned weekend break!
Friday's in offices are dress down days and cake days, early finishes and drinks after work. But what happens when the week is dragging on, your motivation levels are depleted and Friday just won’t end?
Motivation is the feeling we have or the encouraging words we hear that give us the willingness to complete a task or spur us on to achieve our goals. Life coach and motivational speaker Mel Robbins has an interesting take on feeling motivated:
“First of all here’s what I want you to understand, you’re never gonna feel like it. That’s it, number one, embrace the idea that you’re never gonna feel motivated[…] because the truth is, when it comes to changing your life, when it comes to changing your relationships, it’s gonna require you to do things that you don’t feel like doing, it’s gonna require you to do things that feel new, that feel scary, and that means you’re not gonna feel like it.”
From a science perspective, the human brain is actually designed to protect us from doing something that could cause us harm. It makes us feel fear at the thought of the unknown. This means that if you are waiting for the motivation to do something, it is unlikely to just magically appear from somewhere. Sometimes we have to accept that and just force it to happen!
Employee engagement and motivating your team are ongoing topics in the workplace. Cereal company Kelloggs have come up with a popular way to keep their employees motivated during summer; every year from May to September they offer a flexible working ‘summer hours initiative’. The initiative means all office-based employees are now able to finish work at noon on a Friday as long as they have completed their contracted hours. Florence Kayll, assistant brand manager at Kelloggs, backs up this tried and tested scheme: “Summer Hours massively improves motivation during the summer months and people seem to be just as productive”.
Try these ideas to boost your motivation levels this Friday:
Do something you enjoy
When your motivation is really at a low point just pick a task that you enjoy or find easier to do. Unfortunately the tougher or more tedious tasks will will still need to be done at some point. But if you can get away with it, filling your Friday afternoon with something fun or easy should keep you motivated to keep going!
Keep yourself busy
I personally prefer to be working (the boss is reading this right…?) I enjoy getting stuck into a big project to stop myself procrastinating or being too easily distracted. Keeping yourself busy always makes time pass more quickly.
Create a schedule
An easy one to procrastinate over! But if you can make even a quick list, knowing what you need to do next and sticking to it takes the hard work out of thinking and therefore removes the need to get motivated.
Do it differently
Stir up some motivation by stimulating different parts of your brain. If you usually tackle your work alone, try getting some input from a colleague. A brain-storming session or even just a five minute chat could help to get that tricky idea working.
On the other hand, if you are used to being part of a team, try taking an hour out to concentrate on a task alone.
Pat yourself on the back
Liz Guthridge, employee engagement expert, says: “People crave recognition [...] Recognition confirms you’re doing the right thing and encourages you to keep doing it"
Keep a little (or big) personal diary of praise you’ve received either from a client, customer, colleague or boss. It’s the sort of thing that is recommended for us to do to help with our appraisals but actually you should do it just for yourself too! This is a time that it’s ok to not be modest about something, even if it’s just recalling these moments of recognition to yourself.
In the words of Nike…JUST DO IT!
This famous tagline gives us the mental strength to put on our (nike) trainers and be active. Mel Robbins also promotes this idea with her 5 second rule when she answers the question of how do you find motivation to go to the gym? “A five second brain hack that interrupts any excuse, just count 5,4,3,2,1 and start marching out the door”. My own personal slightly softer approach is ‘you never regret exercising’ which usually convinces me to get out there!
Both of these approaches can work well in the workplace too. Stop procrastinating, metaphorically grit your teeth and just do the task at hand! Or think of it the other way and focus on the great relief you’ll feel once the task is out of the way. You won’t regret spending the time to get the job done. Remember, it’s ok to not feel like doing it, you can still do it!
If all else fails and the call of a rare sunny afternoon or your comfy sofa is just too much to bare, then see if you can use your annual leave allowance and treat yourself to an afternoon off, on your own or with friends. Remember, your boss no doubt feels exactly the same as you!
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